The financial impact of crime is frustrating but usually temporary. The psychological effect, on the other hand, is traumatizing and persistent. Feeling unsafe in your own home is a life-changing experience that no one should need to endure. Perhaps this is the reason why neighborhood watch programs have become so popular.
People want more safety and security, and in many cases, neighbors have become fed up with the crime they’ve already experienced. In reality, neighborhood watch programs have more benefits than most people realize. Find out what you stand to gain.
1. Reduce the Risk of a Crime
Of course, the most apparent advantage of a neighborhood watch is that it lowers your risk for crime. Criminals see the neighborhood watch signs, and word spreads that your neighborhood is a risky area for them. In some cases, residents can spot crime in progress and prevent future problems.
A recent US Department of Justice report found a 16% crime decrease in neighborhoods that instituted a neighborhood watch program.
2. Develop a Sense of Self-Empowerment
As we noted, one of the worst consequences of local crime is feeling unsafe and powerless. Taking part in a neighborhood watch program can turn that around.
In a program like this, you feel empowered to take control of your safety. You know what to do if a crime occurs, and you know you are capable.
Of course, the key is to strike a happy medium. You don’t want to go too far and become a violent vigilante. You should feel empowered by knowing what is happening in your area and feeling comfortable calling the police, not putting yourself or others at risk.
3. Cultivate Neighborhood Accountability
There is power in numbers. That’s true when it comes to decreasing crime in your area.
In a neighborhood watch program, you and your neighbors are working toward the same goal. You are organized and united, and everyone knows their role.
That connection allows you to get to know your neighbors and their patterns. You’ll be able to notice when something is out of place or unusual, so you know when to be concerned. The same applies to your neighbors learning your patterns so they know when you may be in trouble.
4. Develop a relationship with the Police Department
Your local police department is your best asset when it comes to fighting crime. However, they work best when the community engages with them.
A neighborhood watch program allows you to do that. The police department can guide your neighbors about reporting a crime, what information to gather, and how to be safe in the process.
At the same time, the police will get to know you. The local PD will learn that you’re a responsible and engaged citizen. They will also get to know your neighborhood so that if and when a crime surge appears, they can increase patrols and tackle the problem head-on.
5. Learn Preventative and Safety Techniques
One of the most common reasons people feel helpless against crime is because they don’t know what to do if something happens. A neighborhood watch program provides a positive solution.
In an organized program, you can go beyond neighborhood patrols. Your group can schedule self-defense classes and other talks to teach everyone how to defend themselves. You will also learn how to spot the signs of a crime and how to take action safely.
6. Getting Your Finger on Rising Trends
When it comes to crime, knowledge truly is power. By keeping track of ongoing trends, you can better know what crimes to watch for and how to prevent them.
Getting active in a neighborhood watch allows you to see those patterns. For example, when people are keeping a closer eye out and reporting their findings, you could know sooner that someone has been breaking into cars.
In that case, you might know to keep your car locked or to watch for anyone lingering around vehicles.
7. Create Organized Action Plans
The chances are that among your neighbors, everyone has different strengths that can help in an emergency. If you know what those strengths are, you’ll better know how to use them.
For example, a neighborhood watch lets you learn who on the block knows CPR in case of a medical emergency. You’ll also know who is most likely to be home at different times, so you know who you can rely on for help.
You can coordinate other efforts to prevent or catch criminals. For example, assign each home a different night to keep porch lights on. This way, no one has high electric bills from constant use, yet there is more light in the neighborhood.
Home security cameras play a crucial role in neighborhood watch programs. It is amazing how much video resolution has improved in the last few years. One camera can often cover a broad view of the street. Compare notes at meetings and share footage when appropriate.
8. Enjoying a Stronger Feeling of Safety
Above all, the best part of a neighborhood watch program is the feeling of safety you receive. You know that there is always someone keeping a watchful eye on the area. There is someone who can alert you if something suspicious is happening, rather than you worrying about being a sitting duck.
This case also applies to times when you are out of town. When your neighbors know you’re away, they’ll be able to keep a closer eye on your home.
Getting the Most Out of Neighborhood Watch Programs
Without a doubt, neighborhood watch programs have life-changing potential. They can transform your home from a place of stress to a place of relief.
While anyone can organize a neighborhood watch program for their area, you can do more too. To start taking charge of your safety today, call 630.844.6322 for expert home security solutions.
About Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
ADS is one of the largest alarm firms in Illinois. It has been family-owned since 1968. ADS provides business alarms, fire alarms, card access, security cameras, and home security systems. Our main office is in the Fox Valley. We service all of Chicago, suburbs, and southern Wisconsin.